WITH the 17 finalists of the prestigious Miss Universe Malaysia 2015 announced in Kuala Lumpur, contestants can expect to face numerous challenges ahead of them.
The local pageant, , by the Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation (Mumo), will see finalists undergoing four weeks of intensive training and tested in areas including catwalk, styling and public speaking.
The nationwide search was conducted in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu over a span of six months.
The finalists are Amanda Khong, April Tang, Ashley Ahn, Gloria Tneh, Jasveer Sandhu, Jenny Wong, Kelly Jagan, Kohinoor Kaittiani, Meera Maniar, Nisha Kumar, Pauline Tan, Pauline Thong, Shaelina Martin, Shalini Mathialagan, Sugeeta Chandran, Vaishnevi Thanaseharan and Vanessa Tevi.
Present during the press conference was Miss Universe Malaysia 2013 and Mumo national director Carey Ng, who said the contestants were chosen based on how good they were as role models, among other criteria.
The finalists have diverse backgrounds and interests.
Ashley Ahn, 22, is of Malaysian-Korean descent and is fluent in four languages including Korean and Mandarin.
A writer at a production house, the Selangorian is an aspiring television host who is passionate about art and beauty and enjoys dance and photography in her free time.
Jenny Wong, 23, who is of Chinese and Indian parentage, is also fluent in several languages including Mandarin and Tamil.
Coming from a single-parent family, Wong is currently pursuing a diploma in childhood education and works as a Mandarin home tutor for children besides taking on freelance modelling jobs.
Sarawakian Jasveer Sandhu, 26, works as a nurse at a government hospital and is passionate about helping people.
Despite having an interest in fashion and beauty, Jasveer’s long-term goal is to establish a career in the medical or health-related industry.
A former synchronised swimmer in school, Vanessa Tevi, 23, who is also of Chinese and Indian parentage, is a sports enthusiast and thrill-seeker.
Some of the Negri Sembilan lass’ favourite activities include bungee jumping, skydiving and hiking.
Some of the contestants are musically talented, such as Vaishnevi Thanaseharan, 23, who started training in classical Indian music at the age of three and learnt to play the veena, a stringed musical instrument, at five.
The final-year medical student, who is on a scholarship, aspires to work with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the future.
Pageant fans can catch the aspiring beauty queens in action in a series of webisodes which includes the intensive training sessions, preparations and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage on Mumo’s official YouTube channel starting in the second week of February 2015 before it continues on 8TV in mid-March 2015.
Miss Universe Malaysia finals will be held in April 2015 where the winner will have an opportunity to travel abroad to represent country at the international competition in the later part of next year.
She will also receive a cash prize of RM48,000 and sponsored prizes worth over RM100,000.
For more information, visit www.missuniversemalaysia.com.my